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Munich to break ground on memorial to gay Holocaust victims

Part of an urban renewal plan in the city’s center, Germany’s third largest city is building a gay victims’ memorial, at the location of one of Europe’s best known pre-holocaust gay bars.

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pre-holocaust gay life
Pre-Holocaust gay life

Pre-Holocaust gay life. (Blade Archive photo)

The human cost of the Holocaust is well known, but largely glossed over in the teaching of the history of the great tragedy is the murder of over 50,000 gay people at the hands of the Third Reich. That terrible tragedy is the origin of the pink and black triangles as symbols sometimes used to represent the gay community, which would have been worn on prison uniforms by gay and lesbian inmates respectively. The city of Munich, however, is joining the city of Berlin to bring more visibility to a darker page in gay history.

As part of a larger urban renewal plan, Munich will construct a memorial to the gay victims of the holocaust at the site of a large gay bar where many of the city’s gay victims would have been rounded up on October 20, 1934, and sent to prison camps. The Scwharzfischer had been the center of one of the most vibrant gay scenes in Europe prior to the passage of a law called “Paragraph 175” by the Nazi party criminalizing homosexuality. According to the United Kingdom’s PinkNews, the memorial–part of a larger pedestrian-focused neighborhood redevelopment–will be located at the corner of Oberanger and Dultstrasse, where the bar once stood.

When the Allied troops freed the prisoners of the Concentration camps, most of the gay prisoners in Germany were re-imprisoned, and served the remainder of their sentences, unlike other groups freed after the end of World War II. According to the same PinkNews report, the law remained on the books until 1969.

Berlin unveiled a similar gay-specific memorial in 2008, and a pink and black triangle plaque was installed at the memorial at Dachau–one of the most brutal prison camps–in 1995.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Michael Bedwell

    June 1, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    There is NO documentation, or even a claim in the Pink News article that was apparently your source re the proposed memorial, for your assertion that “over 50,000 gay people [were murdered] at the hands of the Third Reich.” Further, in addition to the fact that, in general, lesbians suffered no direct oppression by the Nazis other than closing of their meeting places and periodicals, the viral claim that the “black triangle” was a symbol for lesbians in the camps is revisionist myth. According to German historian Dr. Claudia Schoppmann in “Days of Masquerade: Life Stories of Lesbians During the Third Reich,” herself a lesbian and author of some 10 books on the period: “Lesbians did not make up a separate category of prisoners.” Some were arrested as “prostitutes” or under the catch-all “asocials,” and, as both categories [along with vagrants, pacifists, et al.] were assigned the black triangle, that is from which the myth arose that it “meant” “lesbian” in the same way the pink triangle meant “homosexual.” Ella Smula and Margarete Rosenberg were arrested as lesbians and sent to Ravensbruck, but, in another example of the inconsistency of the Reich, they were assigned red triangles which meant “political prisoner.” One example of a lesbian sent to a concentration camp and executed was Henny Schermann. While her prisoner record in Ravensbrueck included the fact that she was gay, her imprisonment and death was because she was also a Jew.

    Schoppmann: “A desire to identify with historical victims might be understandable from a psychological perspective, but it prevents an unobstructed view of the differences that actually existed. Under some circumstances…lesbians were among the perpetrators, the bystanders, and the victims.”

    Thank you.

  2. billy wingarden

    June 2, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    Teh gay mass murders by the nazis were well known. Note that the allies even kept the gays in prison for the restof their sentencce.

    And Bedwell is just an apologist for the Nazis. They hated Jews, gays, slavs, the simi and Roma people (gypsies , and darn near everyone else.

    One would think that Bedwell would sing a different tune after 55 million died in WWII. But a nazi is a nazi is a nazi. YOu cant change the minds of people like him, you just expose him for the liar he is, and let him be seen as such.

    Tehre are even people who say hitler and his gang were gay. Yes, one man, Rolm was known to be gay. Hitler needed Rolm to gain control of the army. Once he did this, Rolm got his own dose of lead poisoning. in 1934

    Some peoples hate is so extreme that they will do anything , including lie about mass murder to keep their sick minds sick. Again, you cant fix them any more then you can fix any nutcase by tellign him he is a nutcase. Try the loughner guy who shot up Tuscon some months ago. Classic schizo per my psychology pro\fessor (ps I am working on my phd in psychology

  3. Gerard Koskovich

    October 20, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    The figure of 50,000 given in this article is misconstrued. The historical records indicate that there were approximately 50,000 convictions under Paragraph 175 during the 12 years of the Nazi regime — not 50,000 deaths. Paragraph 175 was the German law forbidding sodomy between men; the Nazis revised it to outlaw a wider variety of male same-sex erotic expression and to make conviction easier. The consensus of historians is that 5,000 to 15,000 men were sent to concentration camps as homosexuals, and that approximately 60 percent of those men died in the camps.

    Persecution of lesbians took a somewhat different form from that directed at homosexual men because the Nazis — and German society as a whole — regarded women as both less important and less threatening than men. The Nazis shut down lesbian nightclubs, bars, associations and other spaces of public assembly and banned lesbian publications. At the same time, the penal code in most of the Reich (with the exception of Austria) did not outlaw sexual acts between women. Instead, lesbians were more generally constrained by the oppressive measures the Nazis used to limit the liberty and self-determination of all women.

    The Nazi persecution of both homosexual men and lesbian women represented the apogee of the wave of state-sponsored homophobia that swept most Western countries in the mid-20th century. The reliable historical evidence demonstrates its severity and its lasting consequences for both the individuals and the cultures that were targeted. There is no need to exaggerate the record of what happened during this period. We best honor the memory of those who suffered persecution by recognizing legitimate historical research and by taking a critical approach to overstated claims about the subject.

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Real Estate

How to prepare yourself in this seller’s market

Millennials are putting down the avocado toast and picking up mortgages

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Just because it’s a seller’s market, doesn’t mean it’s not a good time to buy.

For the first time, Millennials are cutting back on spending money on multiple streaming subscriptions, $10 drinks, and avocado toast. They are dipping their feet into purchasing their first home. The current market conditions can be tough for some buyers though, so being prepared is more important now than ever. 

The first step in the home buying process is finding the right real estate agent. Your agent should be trustworthy and someone who is knowledgeable about the area, sales contract, and local programs that may be able to save you money. Once you find the perfect agent, ask them to refer you to their preferred local lenders. When talking with lenders, not only should you focus on interest rates, but also ask about their in-house processing and underwriting. This may be able to give you a competitive advantage against other offers. 

Once you’ve decided on your lender, they will need several documents to help them determine your eligible purchase price. Now is the perfect time to get your documents in order, including 30 days of pay stubs, two years of tax returns and/or W2s and 1099s, and two consecutive bank statements. Providing these documents in a timely manner can help expedite the pre-approval process and prevent delays once you’re under contract. The lender will also look at your median credit score from the three major credit bureaus. Since your credit score has a direct effect on your interest rate, it’s important to pay close attention to your score. If your credit score needs a little help, talk to your Realtor and lender to see if they have recommendations on how to boost your score or programs that may be able to help.

After you’ve been pre-approved, it’s time to look at properties. With these current market conditions, properties typically don’t stay on the market for very long. Depending on the type of property, some may only be on the market for a few days. Doing your due diligence at the beginning of your home search can help save you time and focus on the properties that really fit your criteria. Now is the time to make that wish list, visit neighborhoods, research schools, and get a really good idea of what you’re looking for. In this market, it’s very important to see a property as soon as it hits the market. By fully understanding your search criteria in advance and making sure you’re available to see properties after work or on a lunch break, you will be better prepared to make an offer when “the one” hits the market. 

The most common question I get now is, “should I wait?” In most cases, the cost of waiting can cost you. With historically low interest rates and housing prices continuing to increase, now is still a great time to purchase real estate. Being prepared, patient and having an informed Realtor and lender on your side will definitely help in this market.

Teddy Rojanadit is a licensed Realtor in D.C., Virginia, and Maryland with Bediz Group at Keller Williams Capital Properties. Follow him at @teddydcrealtor on Instagram, TikTok and Facebook. He can be reached at [email protected] or 202-664-3736.

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Real Estate

The five-step downsizing plan

Set goals and a budget — then de-clutter

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Before you downsize, you’ll need to de-clutter your home.

Are you considering downsizing? For any number of reasons, this might be a decision that makes sense at this point in your life. 

Perhaps you have children that are now grown and have moved out, or you entertained large parties and those days have passed, now having more space than you can use. Maybe you simply want less home to take care of and fewer chores on your to-do list. Perhaps you’d like a smaller mortgage, so you can put the extra money toward other things. Or possibly, you’re willing to pay a slightly higher mortgage so that you can have a smaller home in an area where you’ve always wanted to live. Whatever your reasons, if you’re thinking of downsizing, having a plan can be extremely valuable. Those preparing to downsize may find that following this helpful five-step plan can make the process a smooth and successful experience:

Think through your goals: This may seem like an obvious step, but it is one that people often overlook. As you think about downsizing, take the time to sit down and come up with a detailed list of your goals. Ask yourself the necessary questions that will help you to narrow and focus your search. These are questions like: What’s important to you in life — being close to family and friends? Living in a place you love? Having easy access to medical care? Access to an international airport? Spend some time thinking through your priorities and desires. How much of a mortgage will you be able to pay, particularly if you are retiring or anticipating increased health care costs as you age? Maybe you’re able to live mortgage free with the sale of your larger home.

How much square footage would you feel comfortable caring for? How will you prepare for the move? Thinking carefully about your future by working through important questions like these can help you move closer toward a concrete vision of your ideal downsizing situation and provide peace of mind and confidence during the process. 

• Look for a location you love: Location is an important aspect of any real estate transaction, but this can be especially true when downsizing. What are your reasons for downsizing? Thinking this through may help you to choose a location that is ideal for your needs. Are you downsizing because you are getting older and health issues are a concern? If so, choosing a location close to a city center where you can easily access medical care might be important. Are you downsizing because you’re tired of living in a large home in a suburban area and want easier access to amenities that a more urban environment may offer? If so, looking for more walkable neighborhoods closer to a larger metropolitan area might be important for you. Are you retiring and downsizing because you want to live in that gay-friendly city that you’ve always loved? Focus your home search there. 

• Be sure to budget: After you’ve thought through your goals and decided on a desirable location, you’ll want to spend time closely looking at your financial situation and coming up with a realistic budget to achieve your goals. Meeting with a financial professional to review your assets and debts, what you might make from the sale of your current home, and what the total costs of downsizing might be can be tremendously helpful, and can ensure that you make your move with financial confidence and security.

Don’t forget to declutter: Certainly, downsizing means you’ll have less space – and this means less room for extra stuff. Before your move, take advantage of the downsizing process as an opportunity to let go of items you no longer truly need or use and to make space for new things and experiences. It is important to get started on this process early. Often, when people are downsizing, they still overestimate the amount of room they will have for extra items. Don’t make this mistake. Taking the time to sit down and think about what will fit within your new space removes the stress of later having to dispose of those belongings after you move.

Find the right agent: The importance of this step in your downsizing plan should not be overlooked. Whether you are staying relatively close to home or moving across the country, you will need an agent who knows the community you’re interested in and can help direct you to neighborhoods and homes that will best fit your needs. This can particularly be true when you are an LGBTQ home buyer or seller and you want to ensure that you find not only a house that you love, but also a community where you can feel truly at home. Working with the right agent can reduce your stress, save time, and greatly increase your overall satisfaction with your real estate experience. Wondering how to find exactly the right agent for your needs? At GayRealEstate.com, that’s where we come in.

Whatever your real estate needs – whether you are looking to buy, sell, upgrade, or downsize, at www.GayRealEstate.com, we are here for you. We are passionate about connecting LGBTQ home buyers and sellers across the country with agents who are talented, experienced, and committed to helping their clients achieve their real estate dreams. In any real estate experience, having an agent who knows and loves their community and who values each client, and understands that client’s unique needs can be invaluable. We are dedicated to delivering that experience every time. You deserve nothing less. We look forward to helping you soon.

Jeff Hammerberg is founding CEO of Hammerberg & Associates, Inc. Reach him at 303-378-5526 or [email protected].

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Autos

Adventure cruisers

These two vehicles are perfect for your next adventure

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Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle

With everyone itching to get out and travel during the big reopening, it’s no wonder roadways are jammed with day-trippers and tourists. But these two vehicles can help you avoid the noise and go on your own excellent adventure.

CHRYSLER PACIFICA PINNACLE
$55,000
Mpg: 19 city/28 highway
0 to 60 mph: 7.9 seconds

Is there such a thing as a fun minivan? You wouldn’t think so. But the Chrysler Pacifica has won numerous awards for its spirited suspension and nimble handling. This hauler is much better at transporting people and cargo than most pickups and SUVs. And this year the Pacifica, already a style maven among minivans, gets a tasteful makeover. This includes a streamlined grille, liftgate, wheels, and front and rear running lights. 

For better traction on slippery roads, all-wheel drive is now available. There’s also a new top-tier trim level—the Pinnacle—with quilted Nappa leather seats and (bling alert!) snazzy matching pillows for the second-row captain’s chairs. The infotainment system, already easy to use, now has a crisp 10.1-inch screen, along with smartphone integration and up to 12 USB ports. Because of an improved processor, the infotainment system is more responsive. This was a big plus whenever I approached highway construction zones and needed to find a quick escape route. In the end, I was able to deftly skirt bottlenecks, enjoy a few unfamiliar yet pleasant byways, and still arrive everywhere on time. 

Along with a backup camera, there’s a 360-degree view to help you fit into almost any parking spot. And while it may seem a bit creepy, a new FamCam inside the cabin helps you keep an eye on the kids—or any unruly adults—who may be acting up in the backseat. Crash-test scores are stellar, and Chrysler found a way to shoehorn in almost every safety feature, including blind-spot monitor, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection. No, the Pacifica Pinnacle is not a sport sedan or souped-up super coupe. But it also doesn’t drive like a bulky minivan, despite the acres of interior room and cubbyholes. Instead, I was able to enjoy the best of both worlds—a refreshing ride with plenty of room for passengers and cargo. For neat freaks like me, there was an extra bonus: a built-in vacuum cleaner.

Mercedes AMG GT 43

MERCEDES AMG GT 43
$91,000
Mpg: 20 city/25 highway
0 to 60 mph: 4.8 seconds

For auto journalists, test vehicles are like speed dating: Each car is the object of your affection—but only until the next one arrives. Yet sometimes you really do find a soul mate. That’s the case with the Mercedes AMG GT 43. This four-door sedan looks like a hot rod, sounds like a muscle car and drives like a high-performance speedster. Each time I slipped behind the wheel, there was something new and exciting to stir the senses. Cue the silky nine-speed transmission. The subdued ambient lighting. The snug seats that hug you like a lover. And the various driver settings that let you stiffen the suspension to take any corner like a pro. 

With the touch of a button, you can ratchet up the exhaust rumble to impress your neighbors. Press another button to raise the large rear spoiler—effectively saying “back off” to anyone clueless enough to tailgate such a ferocious fastback. Even curbside, the haughty look of this ride is intimidating. Inside, there are dual 12.3-inch digital displays and a wide center console with wireless charging pad. Another charging pad is part of an optional rear-seat package, which adds three-zone climate control, heated/cooled rear cupholders, two more USB ports and a rear touchscreen. The new infotainment system offers speech recognition for voice commands and software that actually learns how to anticipate when you might be about to change the nav screen or radio channel. And the clarity of the Burmester surround-sound stereo remains crystal clear even when it’s cranked up to the max. Despite a base price of $91,000, the AMG GT 43 is actually a bargain. After all, the slightly more powerful GT 53 starts at $100,000, and the high-end GT 63 is an eye-popping $162,000. At the end of a weeklong stint with this dream machine, I had fallen hard it—finding any excuse to make an extra Starbucks run or go on a spur-of-the-moment day trip or drive to the grocery store three times in an hour or, well, you get the picture.

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